Tyvon Branch finally got his long overdue payday. By the end of his second season in a silver and black jersey he had outperformed his rookie deal. But being that he played for a franchise lost in 11-loss hell and was the best player on a terrible defense his weekly performance was only noticed by Raider Nation.
Now that Branch has gone from franchise tagged to franchise cornerstone with his new deal he’ll have to deal with raised expectations.
No longer will Branch be given credit for being the lone bright spot on a bleak defense. Now he’ll be expected to elevate the entire unit to his level of play.
To be sure Branch isn’t the face of the defense like Richard Seymour. Nor is he among the NFL elite at the safety position. However we all know he’s got the potential to be in that upper echelon of defenders and now is his time to emerge as such.
With big bucks comes lofty expectation.
Raider Nation has Branch’s back. No question about that. The difference now is that we’re looking for his inspired play to do just that for the rest of the defense. He’s not going to be able to hang his hat on his performance alone. Oakland’s defense is slowly transitioning into Branch’s bunch. Soon he will be in the team captain conversation. Soon Branch will be much more than a diamond in the rough. All that means is sooner than later he’s going to be held accountable for how the entire defense plays.
This is all part of the natural evolution for a player as talented and dedicated as Tyvon. He’s worked hard to earn every penny coming his way. Now the real work begins.
Congrats to both Branch and the Raiders for their dedication to one another. This deal had to get done. All that remains now is for Branch to outperform his new deal. To do that he’ll have to do more than play at a Pro Bowl level. He’ll have to play for a Super Bowl caliber defense.